By Sloane Pasini:
Cheung Chau was my favorite place so far. It’s small, more quiet, and has a lot of nature, hiking, and overlooks the water. Out of the places we’ve seen so far this is somewhere that I’d like to visit. I found it interesting that the island and streets are so small that you typically don’t see people driving cars, but rather walk or ride bicycles. I think one of the most interesting things I learned was about the bun festival and Diwali. We don’t have festivals like these in the states and they seem very fun and interesting. I would love to visit and see these festivals in person. I also that it was cool to see one of the seafood markets. It had so many tanks with different kinds of fish and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s also interesting that, like the chickens from Day 1, you can choose which fish you want from the tanks.
By Ariana Janus:
The second part of our day consisted of a day time tour of one of the islands of Hong Kong: Cheung Chau. With our guides Trisha Daswani and Jhalak Shah, we explored the side of Hong Kong that connects more closely to nature. Jhalak first connected with us while she was still in the middle of a hike in the hills of Cheung Chau and showed us the beautiful views of the foliage around her and the mountains in the distance. Trisha started us in the town, where she began with showing us Yuk Hui Temple, a Taoist temple dedicated to the god Pak Tai. This was one of my favorite parts of their tour because the temple was absolutely beautiful and intricate in its design. According to our guide, the basketball court located just outside the temple was an area that they used for the Cheung Chau Bun Festival that they hold annually, in which there is a bun tower that contestants must climb as a race to the top! They also have lion and dragon dancers, as well as the floating children parade, which I would love to see in person. It certainly sounds exciting and I hope that one day I’ll get the chance to see it for myself. With part of the tour being near the waterfront, we learned that Hong Kong used to be made up of fishing villages, however, with the industrialization of the world, this isn’t completely true anymore. But fishing villages aren’t completely extinct as there are still some that exist, like Tai O, where people live on houseboats or on the water in houses on stilts. Yet another sight that I would love to see in person. As we complete our first person tours of a beautiful country, I wanted to reach out a thank you to all our guides, who all did such a wonderful job guiding us through these beautiful areas. I especially want to thank Trisha and Jhalak, who, during the holiday of Diwali, took the time to guide us in our exploration of Hong Kong. Hopefully I’ll be able to stand where my guides once stood, so that can see this beautiful country with my own eyes.
By Tyler Pushko:
I loved hearing about the experiences of our tour guides and how much they loved their home and life in Hong Kong. I always pictured Hong Kong as just a large city so I thought it was really cool that we could be in the middle of the city enjoying the marketplaces or night life on minute, and then on a tranquil island within a half hour or so. The Yuk hui temple on Cheung Chau is just beautiful and I like how such peaceful places like this can be anywhere, even in the middle of the busy part of the city.
It was also surprised about how much diversity there is in such a small area, not only in landscape but also in ethnicity, culture and religion. Even though the major influence seems to come from mainland China, the years of British rule and traditions of others who have settled in the area really make it a melting pot of sorts. In that way, it is not very different than New York or some other major metro area in the U.S. This was an amazing way to “travel” and maybe someday I will be lucky enough to experience Hong Kong in person.
By Bailey Carden:
Day 3 allowed us to see outside the city and I was taken back on how pretty the views were. We saw inside a temple that was stunning and showed a part of the culture that is what I usually think about when I hear Hong Kong. I wish I was there to walk through the temple myself and experience it firsthand. But the tour guides were great in taking the time to go through everything. It was also very interesting to hear from another culture in Hong Kong and learn a little about their traditions and how they have combines with more traditional ones.
“Yukhui Temple was absolutely stunning!! definitely one of my favorite parts of today’s tour. very rarely do I see anything at that caliber of beauty in the states.”
“I really liked talking about the Lion Dancing, and I want to go someday to see the bun festival.”
“I liked the diversity of things we saw today including the historic features, natural features, and food diversity.”
By Jordyn Nelson:
I was given the opportunity to experience a tour given by Jhalak and Trisha of Cheung Chau Island. Jhalak and Trisha are both Indian but raised in Hong Kong. I learned from my interview with Ms. Lee that Indians are a minority in Hong Kong. To give us the best experience, they were on two different parts of the island, the green nature side and then the village urban side. I was excited to hear that this was going to be different and not a tour of the city because the last two tours that we saw were both the city, one during the day and the other at night. Trisha said that there were no cars that travel along the Island except for a couple little vans, but mostly everyone travels by bike. This is very different from the city area because all you saw were cars. We got to see inside a beautiful temple called Yuk Hui. I thought this was so interesting because I have never seen anything like it. The temple was full of incents; a material used to produce a fragrant odor when burned. My mom uses them a lot around the house, so I am familiar with them.
They both started to talk about Covid and how they never had to fully go into a lockdown because of how seriously they take it. I remember over here in America we were on lockdown for about 3 months. They do contact tracing and are on top of the situation every time someone tests positive. They also said that you get a fine if you are caught not wearing your mask, even outdoors. When Jhalak was on her hike and showing us around I did see everyone wearing a mask. When she flipped the camera to show us the view, it was beautiful, I have never experienced a more beautiful view. It kind of reminded me of Hawaii. There was so much nature and the water looked crystal clear. It almost looked like she was on top of the world. She said she likes to beach hop, which is something that I have never heard of, in America I have only ever heard of bar hopping. Overall, this experience was something that I will carry with me forever. I really want to travel the world and see what I was shown virtually in person. I learned so much from it and I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to experience it.
“Tonight’s session was my favorite. I’m not a big city person so I really enjoyed seeing the more quiet area and the nature.”
“I liked seeing the beautiful views on the island.”